Servicemembers from around Fort Bragg and Pope Field came together to remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at an observation held Jan. 15.
The event, hosted by the 16th Military Police Brigade on behalf of the Fort Bragg Equal Opportunity Team, featured the Rev. Dennis M. Brown, who presented King’s speeches intermixed with songs and spirituals from King’s era.
Brown, the pastor of Miracle Deliverance Full Gospel Church in San Bernardino, Calif., performed King’s speeches in the likeness of King, but cautioned that it wasn’t meant to be a piece of theatrical performance, but rather a living gift which he offered up to King’s memory.
Fort Bragg, like the rest of the Department of Defense, observes King’s birthday, honoring the life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, by holding an event that encourages interaction and promotes understanding, teamwork, harmony and pride, among all people.
“Observances are meant to educate all people, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, or national origin on the contributions to the formation of this great nation from each race as well as certain individuals,” said Sgt. 1st Class Clayton T. Green, equal opportunity advisor, 16th Military Police Brigade and organizer of the observance.
King, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s use of nonviolent action, forged his own brand of civil disobedience and fought for the civil rights not only of African Americans, but for all people.
“Doctor King created a movement, a movement that even he probably never fully … could have anticipated ... the enormity of its blossom,” said Col. Chad B. McRee, commander, 16th Military Police Brigade and host of the day’s events. “A movement that initially targeted (one) group, (but) opened up the opportunities for many groups, and ultimately (challenge) the status quo (which) provided a pathway to equality and opportunity that continues today.”
King is the only American, other than George Washington, to have his birthday celebrated as a federal holiday.
“Just as Doctor King was at the ready to engage the enemies of progress with a message, the Soldiers and paratroopers of this nation stand ready to secure progress throughout the world,” said McRee.